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Frequently Asked Questions

Human Resources receives numerous questions every day. We welcome these questions and strive to answer each one completely and honestly. It is our desire to assist our employees effectively. Listed below are a few examples of the most frequently asked questions.

Do all policies pertain to all employees?

Policies apply to employees based upon the employee group, employee subgroup, and percent of effort as recorded in IRIS.

Employee Groups:

  • Faculty: one who holds faculty rank and whose primary appointment is to engage in academic instruction, research, or service. Faculty may earn tenure.
  • Staff: one who supports the academic instruction, research, and service components of the university. Staff are not employed for a specified period of time; rather, they serve “at will.”
  • Student: one whose primary reason for being at the university is to be enrolled in academic courses.

Employee Subgroups:

  • Regular: employment for a period which is expected to be 12 months or more, nine-month academic appointments, and flex-year appointments paid over a 12-month period. A regular employee receives benefits based on the percent of effort he or she is scheduled to work as recorded in IRIS.
  • Term: employment for a period which is expected to be less than 12 months. Term positions may be renewed. Term employees are eligible for limited benefits.
  • Student: persons assigned an employee category of student or persons assigned a job title of “non-UT student assistant.”

Percent of Effort:

  • Full-time: employees scheduled to work a minimum of 40 hours per week as recorded in IRIS are assigned a percent full-time of 100 percent.
  • Part-time: employees scheduled to work less than 40 hours per week as recorded in IRIS have percent full-time of less than 100 percent (percentage depends on the number of hours worked per week).

I’m getting ready to make a major purchase and the company says they have to verify my employment. Who do I tell the company to call?

The HR Call Center verifies employment at 865-946-8847. Telephone verification information is based on each employee’s completed Authorization of Disclosure form. If an employee’s salary is to be verified, the request to authorize the release of information must be in writing, signed by the employee.

When is a fee waiver needed to take classes?

Employees attending UT need only to complete a fee waiver form the first semester they attend. Employees’ spouses or dependent children need to complete a fee discount form for the first semester of attendance at UT. If the employee, employee’s spouse or dependent child is attending a Tennessee Board of Regents school, a fee discount or waiver form must be processed each term through the Human Resources-Records office office.

I want to transfer to a different job. What do I do?

After six months in a position, an employee seeking to transfer to another position must complete a transfer application and submit it to HR-Employment, 105 Student Service Building. The application will remain active for 12 months. An employee may apply for any position during that time by phone, 865-974-6642, or by visiting the HR-Employment Office.

What kinds of leave are available to me as a regular UT employee?

Annual Leave

For regular staff and 12-month faculty, annual leave is accrued at different rates depending on employee group, length of service, and percent of effort.

Sick Leave

For regular staff and 12-month faculty due to personal or family (spouse, child, or parent) illness, injury, and/or incapacity to work because of childbirth or adoption. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of one day per month for 100 percent full-time staff. Part-time staff receive the benefit based on percent of effort.

Family and Medical Leave (FML)

For a regular or term university employee who has been employed for at least 12 months, and has at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period. Employee must provide his/her employer with reasonable notice. This type of leave is available for reasons such as childbirth, adoption, foster care placement, serious illness of the employee or the employee’s spouse, child, or parent. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, an employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the form of job protection during a 12-month period ( or through a “modification of service” agreed upon for academic-year faculty). The 12-week period of leave runs concurrently with paid leave (such as sick leave, annual leave, personal leave, workers’ compensation leave) or with any leave of absence without pay. An employee who takes leave that is designated as medical leave must first exhaust, in order, all unused compensatory time, sick leave, annual leave, and personal leave. However, an employee may opt to retain up to five (5) days or 40 hours of sick leave, whichever is less. Once the employee has exhausted his or her paid leave, he or she will go on unpaid leave for the remainder of the medical leave period.

For academic-year faculty, see also the university’s interpretation of family care policies which applies to academic year appointments and provides guidance for granting leaves of absence without pay, modifying service requirements, and adjusting the tenure-track probationary period for reasons related to a faculty member’s care-giving responsibilities.

Pregnancy Leave

Tennessee law permits a regular full-time employee to take up to four (4) months of paid or unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, nursing an infant or adoption. This leave runs concurrently with FML.

Leaves of Absence

May be available to university employees due to such reasons as illness or injury of an employee and/or other personal or family reasons. A leave of absence must be requested by the employee and is subject to approval by the employee’s supervisor.

Other Types of Leave

Administrative leave with pay, educational leave, workers’ compensation leave, world class athletic events, disaster relief services, military leave, court leave, funeral leave.

I’ve been offered a job at UT. Does UT have health insurance?

Regular employees scheduled to work at least 75 percent time as recorded in IRIS are eligible for health insurance. The university offers several types of insurance and the options are discussed in new employee orientation. For additional information, contact the Payroll Office at 865-974-5251.

There is a strange odor in my building. Who can I call to see if everything is okay?

Contact Environmental Health & Safety Services, at 865-974-5084 or email A representative will visit the site and evaluate the situation.

Does UT have training programs? If so, how do I find out what classes you have that I might want to take?

Employee & Organizational Development (EOD) offers a variety of training programs to UT employees. Three times each year, employees are mailed the “Training Pages” publication. The classes are also listed at Employee and Organizational Development.

In addition, safety training is available to departments through Environmental Health & Safety Services, 865-974-5084.

Although most classes are free, a small fee is charged for computer classes and seminars. To register, please contact EOD at 865-974-6657 or visit the EOD website.

Where can I find the guidelines for completing the I-9 forms?

New I-9 forms can be found at New Handbook for Employers can be found at

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